In an inspirational show of unity and joy, the people from all walks of life today had a unique opportunity to join gleeful celebrations across the country to become witnesses of Bangladesh’s historic achievement of getting eligibility for graduating to a developing country.
The capital Dhaka and other cities and towns of the country wore festive looks this afternoon as people in hundreds attended jubilant celebrations organized to mark the country’s landmark attainment to come out of the status of the Least Developed Countries (LDC).
Apart from common people, artistes, players, eminent personalities and dignitaries joined the processions with colorful banners and festoons in their hands while groups of musicians in their traditional attire performed patriotic songs.
In the capital Dhaka, people in thousands were marching in colourful processions towards the Bangabandhu National Stadium to participate in the grand celebration of the country’s eligibility to graduate to a developing state from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
The jubilant processions began simultaneously this afternoon from nine designated points of the capital. These included Bangla Academy, Shilpakala Academy, Matsha Bhaban, Shishu Academy, Duyel Chattar, Suhrawardy Udyan, Engineering Institute, Dhaka University, Ramna Park, Bangladesh Bank Chattar, Shilpa Bhaban Chattar and Nagar Bhaban.
The processions reached the Bangabandhu National Stadium where a colourful cultural show and laser light display were organised as part of the government’s two-day celebration of the country’s achievement.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, her sister Sheikh Rehana, Rehana’s son Radwan Mujib Siddiq Bobby, ministers, premier’s advisers, lawmakers, politicians, business community leaders, senior journalists, educationists, writers, artistes and literatures, senior civil and military officials joined the function.
Joyous processions, according a reception to the Prime Minister in the capital, discussions, seminars, jubilant rallies, festoons, posters, banners and colourful flags, signifying the government’s various development efforts, marked the grand celebrations.
On the eve of the celebrations, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave separate message, felicitating the countrymen for their contributions to attain the great honour for the country.
As part of the celebration, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was accorded a grand reception at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre here this morning for her stewardship for the landmark development of the country.
Coinciding with the reception, the premier also opened a weeklong countrywide programme to celebrate Bangladesh’s graduation while capital Dhaka is witnessing a two-day programme to mark the milestone achievement of the country.
In her address, Sheikh Hasina urged the countrymen to keep up the achievement dedicating Bangladesh’s graduation to a developing nation to them.
The premier congratulated the people of all classes and professions in view of the achievement as she was accorded the reception for her stewardship to Bangladesh’s eligibility for graduating from the group of Least Development Countries (LDCs).
Economic Relations Division organized the reception with Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith in the chair while United Nations Under Secretary General Fajita Manual Katua Utau Common spoke on the occasion.
Muhith handed over to the Prime Minister the letter of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) of the United Nations that declared the eligibility of Bangladesh for graduating from the LDCs.
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, Asian Development Bank president Takehiko Nakao, USAID administrator Mark Green and JICA president Shinichi Kitaoka sent separate video messages on the occasion.
A written message of UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner was also read out at the function where ERD Secretary Kazi Shafiqul Azam delivered the welcome address.
Sheikh Hasina also released a commemorative postage stamp issued by Bangladesh Post Office on the occasion alongside a commemorative currency note of Tk 70 denomination issued by Bangladesh Bank.
Later, Information Minister Hasanul Huq Inu, State Minister for Information Tarana Halim, Information Secretary Abdul Malek and Principal Information Officer Begum Kamrun Nahar handed over a photo album to the Prime Minister.
Dhaka University also staged a jubilant rally on the premises of ‘Smriti Chirantan’ monument on the campus this morning to celebrate the country’s great achievement.
University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Md Akhtaruzzaman inaugurated the rally releasing balloons and festoons.
An international seminar will be held in the capital city on Friday on the prospect and challenges of the country’s graduation from the LDCs. Finance Minister AMA Muhith will chair the seminar.
In Chittagong, different educational institutions celebrated the historic achievement through bringing out separate jubilant processions from their respective college campuses this morning.
Identical processions and rallies will also be staged across the country from March 22-28 as ministries will display the government’s achievements in different sectors.
The local administration will also organise photo exhibitions, art competitions, cultural shows, sport events and video shows on development activities.
Tight security measures have been taken in the capital as elsewhere in the country as the home ministry formed a committee to maintain security and safety during the celebrations.
The Committee for Development Policy (CDP) of the United Nations on March 15 officially declared the eligibility of Bangladesh for graduating from the LDCs and handed over a formal letter in this regard to Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to the UN Masud Bin Momen on the following day.
Last year in October, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in a report projected that Bangladesh would qualify primarily to graduate from the LDCs list in this March as the country already fulfilled all the three criteria to become eligible for the developing country status.
The three criteria are Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, Human Assets Index (HAI) and Economic Vulnerability Index (EVI). According to the UN’s graduation thresholds, GNI per capita of a country should be $1,230 or above.
Bangladesh’s GNI per capita was $1,610 at the end of 2016-17 financial year. For the HAI, a country must score 66 or above and for EVI 32 or below.
Bangladesh scored 72.9 and 24.8 in the two indices respectively while the country will have to maintain the thresholds for the three indices till the country’s final graduation from the LDC category, which the UN will declare in 2024.